Regional planning

In 2018, ATC has been involved in various planning efforts that address regional, inter-regional and Eastern Interconnection-wide needs that could impact our transmission system. ATC continues to monitor and gauge the impact of changing energy policy on Capitol Hill and at FERC and on regulatory rules. To help anticipate future demands on the transmission grid of these changes, ATC undertakes internal analyses and participates in regional studies.

Regional Transmission Assessments

ATC is a member of two regional reliability organizations, the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) and the ReliabilityFirst Corporation (RF). ATC participates in regional transmission assessments conducted by the RF Transmission Performance Subcommittee (TPS). ATC also participates in the Coordinated Seasonal Assessments (CSA) conducted by MISO.

MISO Planning Process

The MISO North region is divided into three sub-regions for planning purposes: western, central, and eastern. The ATC footprint falls within the western sub-region. ATC participates in a variety of MISO planning processes including the MISO Transmission Expansion Process (MTEP). The MTEP process investigates transmission expansions for the long term, short term, and for targeted issues/needs.

Long-term studies are primarily value-based economic studies looking at the ten- to twenty-year horizon. Transmission projects are proposed based on a value/economic view of future years utilizing an array of assumptions.

Short-term planning looks at the five- to ten-year horizon and is thus primarily driven by Transmission Owners’ reliability needs and compliance with NERC reliability standards. To date, the projects that address short-term reliability needs have been proposed to the MISO by individual Transmission Owners. Need drivers and alternatives are then verified through the MTEP process and studies.

Targeted studies investigate specific issues and the time frame can be between long- and short-term. The short-term and targeted studies typically follow a one-year planning cycle. The long-term economic studies follow an 18-month planning cycle.

MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP) reliability and economic studies

ATC Planning staff actively participates in the MISO MTEP reliability and economic studies. These activities include:

  • Ensuring ATC’s project information is comprehensive and complete when entered into the MISO project database,
  • Participating in building/reviewing the annual MTEP powerflow and PROMOD models,
  • Correlating the needs identified in the MISO analyses with the specific ATC projects,
  • Reviewing and commenting on MTEP study results to ensure successful inclusion of the ATC projects in MTEP Appendix A in a timely manner,
  • Actively participating in the Cross Border Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) studies, like the Targeted Market Efficiency Project (TMEP) study, and other similar studies
  • Ensuring the appropriate cost allocation is identified for those ATC projects eligible for regional cost sharing,
  • Answering questions related to ATC projects at the West Sub-regional Planning Meetings (SPMs) and other stakeholder forums, and
  • Providing suggestions/comments that help improve the MTEP process.

ATC projects are entered into the MTEP database to provide stakeholders with a more comprehensive and complete understanding of ATC’s capital plan. Projects are entered into the database in a timely manner based on expected initial capital spend in a format that provides transparency and completeness. Projects included in ATC’s MTEP project list can also be found in ATC’s 10-Year Assessment.

Other MISO planning activities

Our planning staff participates in various technical and policy discussions and provides future direction for MTEP activities. We also are involved in joint planning studies with neighboring RTOs, including PJM and SPP. MISO and PJM coordinate, conduct and analyze several market efficiency project studies. This analysis is reviewed by an inter‑regional planning stakeholder advisory committee, which typically examines economic projects that could benefit both RTOs and qualify for cross‑border cost sharing.

MISO Market Constraints

Two of the five narrowly constrained areas identified in the MISO region are associated with ATC, and we continue to track these as well as other constraints. Such tracking assists in planning projects that alleviate congestion within the MISO market.